FOOD COLORING!?!?!?!? In my entire life, I have only seen it packaged in plastic squeeze bottles. It has never been available in glass anywhere I have been, and honestly, the ingredients don’t sound very safe to me.
So why not make your own? We found some pretty easy recipes to bring some Eco-friendly colors to your baked goods. No, they’re not bright neon, unfortunately, but they are beautiful, healthy, and don’t require any plastic packaging.
The ingredients below are all meant to be boiled in water, the longer the water boils, the more concentrated the color will become.
If you have a juicer, juice the greens before boiling, then strain the ingredients into your storage jars. No juicer? That’s okay. For the berries or green leaves, just mash them as best as you can to release as much color as possible. Then strain. You don’t want any solid bits in your jars.
*NOTE* You do not need to juice or mash the beets, they release a ton of color when they boil anyway, you’d be amazed.
If coloring frosting: How much to add to your frosting depends on how concentrated the colors are, and how much you use. Start with just a few drops and experiment. You can always add more, but you can’t take away!
Red Food Coloring
1/4 cup cooked beets and ½ cup beet water (from cooking liquid)
Pink food coloring
OR: 1 tablespoon hibiscus tea and 1/2 cup water, boiled an reduced by half. (Note this will give the color a lovely but noticeable hibiscus flavor)
Yellow food coloring
1 teaspoon freshly grated turmeric (ground is okay, too) and 1/2 cup water. Note: turmeric can be a strong flavor. Use with caution. Test a small amount out before using it all on your recipe.
1 teaspoon saffron and 1/2 cup water (note: expensive!!!)
Blue food coloring
½ cup fresh blueberries and ⅓ cup water
HACK: make purple food coloring using red cabbage (see below) and add 1/8th teaspoon of baking soda to turn it blue!
Purple food coloring
5 red cabbage leaves and 2 cups of water
(Pull off five outer leaves of the cabbage and rinse well. Chop the cabbage into chunks and boil them in a pot with two cups of tap water for 10-15 minutes.
Continue to boil 1/4 cup of red cabbage water (the water the cabbage was boiled in) until its reduced by half. Cool and store in fridge.
HACK: make purple food coloring using red cabbage (see above) and add 1/8th teaspoon of baking soda to turn it blue
Green food coloring
1 cup fresh spinach or kale and ½ cup water (parsley works too!) Note: this may flavor the food color, test a small sample before using on your entire recipe.
1 tablespoon matcha powder and 1/2 cup water. This has a much milder flavor.
For a deeper blue-green
1 teaspoon of Spirulina powder mixed with 1 and 1/2 cups warm water. Other algae powders work as well, like Blue Majik, but these are hard to find free of plastic packaging.
Brown food coloring
Use espresso or cocoa and water.
(or black cocoa powder, if you can find it!)
*Note* Most of these ingredients do affect flavor, so test them out ahead of time to make sure it doesn’t clash with your ingredients. Sealed in a mason jar and refrigerated, homemade food coloring can last about a month.